The Pardines in Peru
Q: How did you and Casandra meet?
A: (Eric) I am from New Jersey and Casandra is from Florida. We both ended up teaching at the same school in Peru.
Q: When did you get married and end up going back to Peru as a missionary couple?
A: We got married in 2008, and then we spent time raising support. A few years later we went back and worked at a Christian school and a seminary.
Q: How did you end up becoming a pastor?
A: The seminary was associated with a local church, and they needed someone, so they asked me.
Q: What was your response?
A: You’ve got the wrong guy. I didn’t have the vision to become a pastor. Little by little God leads you, and then you get further on and look back and say ‘wow, how on earth did I get here?’
Q: So you were ordained in 2015 and became the pastor of the church in Cusco. What was it like taking a church that wasn’t new, but more than 40 years old?
A: The first thing I needed to do was try to talk to the 200 members on the rolls.
Q: How many people go to the church now?
A: About 50.
Q: So you were trying to figure out what happened to these other people, and if they wanted to continue being members of the church?
Q: What is the culture like and how has that impacted your work at the church?
A: The people are used to officials expecting and receiving bribes. We are trying to teach that it’s not okay, and it has impacted work we’ve tried to have done at the church. It’s caused delays.
Q: Are there other ways that dishonesty has been a challenge in the culture?
A: Yes. A woman in the church wanted to continue using the church’s light bill to prove her residence was zoned for the school she wanted her child to attend. I had to say no.
A: (Casandra) I’ve had to tell the ladies it’s not okay to lie so you can avoid someone who’s knocking on your door. And encourage them to not make excuses about why they say they can’t study the Bible.
Q: What are some encouraging things that have happened lately?
A: We had several people graduate from the Sunday School teacher course, and our son Joshua was baptized at the end of 2019. In January we had a new pastoral intern start working at the church. We're helping him gain practical experience after his seminary training. In January we also helped run the national Pastor’s Camp. Casandra was in charge of VBS for the children of the pastors. There were 60 children that attended and we used the same VBS program in February at our church with about 40 children attending.
Q: How can we pray for you in 2020?
A: (Eric) We need wisdom to balance the ministry needs inside our home, as well as in the church. (Casandra) I have diabetes, so I need prayer that I have strength and energy to homeschool and care for our 4 children, and help the women at church. I need wisdom about where to spend my energy. I also need patience as I teach the women the basics about the gospel.
The Pardines are so thankful to be home now after sheltering-in-place for 75 days! They got stuck an hour and a half away from home at the seminary where they both teach classes. Even after all this time of waiting, they had to get special permission to travel back to their home. In addition to teaching, they have been preparing and passing out "baskets of love" that contain food and other essential items. Please pray for the Pardines as they readjust to being home and continue in their ministry.